It wasn’t long ago when the Washington Wizards won four straight games and brought their record to .500 at 14-14. Since then, Washington has lost five of their last six games, including tonight’s 97-88 loss to the Toronto Raptors. This is the third time this season the Wizards have lost to the Raptors, making it the sixth straight during the regular season.
This is the same Washington team that swept a four-game playoff series against Toronto last season.
DeRozan Puts It On Washington, Again
Raptors All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan would lead all players in scoring with 35 points on 11-of-24 shooting from the field while taking advantage of the free throw line, making 12 of his 13 attempts.
DeRozan scored 21 of his 35 points in the second half, 10 of which came in the final seven minutes of the game. He also grabbed eight rebounds.
In the three games against Washington this season, DeRozan has averaged 29.6 points and 5.6 rebounds, while making 20 of his 22 free throw attempts.
Toronto Firmly Takes Control
The Wizards seemed to have control of this game early as they led 26-16 with less than a minute left in the first quarter. However, Toronto would storm back in the second quarter to take their first lead at 44-42, and go into halftime with the game tied at 47.
Toronto would clamp down on defense in the third quarter, outscoring the Wizards 26-to-14 in the quarter, spearheaded by an 18-4 run. The Raptors would extend their lead to as high as 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Last Minute Effort By Washington
Toronto was in complete control as they led 87-73 with 4:46 left in regulation. However, coming out of the timeout, Washington would make a run that got the home crowd energized. The Wizards would go a 12-4 run to make it an 89-83 ball game, highlighted by an Otto Porter transition layup plus the foul.
On that same play, Raptors forward Patrick Patterson would be called for a flagrant foul as he didn’t make a play on the ball when Porter made the layup in transition. Porter would make the free throw and on the extra possession John Wall would drain a three-pointer, essentially making it a six-point play.
The comeback fell short as Toronto would make the necessary plays down the stretch to seal a 97-88 victory. With the win the Raptors are third place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 23-15 record. Washington
Raptors: Kyle Lowry would pick up his seventh double-double of the season as he recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds. Luis Scola was the only other Toronto player in double figures with 11 points.
Wizards: John Wall led the team with 21 points on 8-of-20 shooting. Wall compiled only four assists and turned the ball over a whopping seven times. Otto Porter added 16 points and five rebounds. Marcin Gortat recorded a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, while Ramon Sessions came off the bench with 14 points.
Inability To Take Advantage Of Turnovers
Both teams had trouble holding on to possession of the ball. The Raptors compiled a season-high 23 turnovers that led to 17 Washington points. However, the Wizards weren’t much better as they turned it over 19 times, leading to 16 Toronto points.
The Wizards did have the clear advantage in transition, outscoring the Raptors 16-to-2. Unfortunately, Washington shot a less than appealing 39.3 percent from the field, including 32 percent from behind the arc (8-of-25). Part of that was a season-high 13 blocks from the Raptors.
Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said that starting guard Bradley Beal is nearing a return to the lineup. Beal has missed the last 14 games with a stress reaction in his right leg. Forward Drew Gooden returned to lineup tonight as he’s been dealing with a calf injury this season, while Kris Humphries missed his second straight game with a sore knee.
Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll is missing his third game after having knee surgery. Terrence Ross left the game in the fourth quarter with a lower back injury.
The Wizards will have a quick turnaround as they head on the road to face the Orlando Magic on Saturday. Washington has defeated the Magic eleven straight times. The Raptors stay on the road and face the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.